Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baby update, and other changes

These past several weeks have flown by! So many fun happenings and changes.

I'm 15 weeks pregnant now, so I'm done with the first trimester. According to the internet, our baby is roughly the size of an apple now. :) And, I have a small baby bump. This makes me super happy!

I actually did a penny gender prediction test the other day, just for fun. (old wives' tale) You lick your thumb, rub it on a penny, and hold it to a wall for 30 seconds. If it falls right away, you're having a boy, if it sticks, you're having a girl. I tried with 3 separate pennies, and they all fell. It would be cool if it actually was correct, but we will find out for sure in about 3 weeks.

I had some bleeding 2 weeks ago, which scared me. I went to the doctor the next day, and the baby is good. The placenta is extremely close to my cervix, though it's not placenta previa. The doctor told me to take it easy, and not do too much until my next ultrasound in January. Hopefully the placenta will move away from my cervix at that time. I am super thankful that baby is ok! God is merciful and good.

Thanksgiving was fun. We got to have 2 separate meals, one with each side of the family. Yes, it was a lot of food, but the meals were 5 hours apart, so it was ok. Loved seeing everyone! :)

On December 1, Quentin and I became homeowners! God provided us with the perfect house. It has a big yard - almost a half acre - is outside city limits, has a big master bedroom, a nice fireplace, and a wrap-around porch. The previous owners even left a good size swing/slide playset out back. It feels like we've lived here longer than 2 weeks, 'cause it's such a good fit for us.

Isn't it cute?

We decorated our Christmas tree, put lights outside, and decorated the mantle. All we need are some stockings, then we'll be finished. I'm excited for our first Christmas in this house and our first Christmas married. 

One more new thing for us. We adopted a kitten! :) 

His name is Tucker. He is 10 weeks old, full of energy when he's awake, and loves to cuddle when he sleeps. He can be feisty and get into things he shouldn't, but overall it's been fun getting to know him. :) We do still have Mabel, we've had her for a year now. Mabel isn't too happy with the new arrival. We're hoping that the two kitties learn to get along soon.

God has blessed us so much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No Wait It's a.....


It's still hard to believe that this picture is real. I am pregnant. What???? Crazy!

Quentin and I went for our first ultrasound yesterday. It was so amazing! We could actually see the baby's brain, and it's tiny heart. We also got to hear the heartbeat, which helped to confirm to me that there is actually another living person inside me. The nurse said the heartbeat is good and strong. :) Also, the baby measured at the right length for how far along I am (10 weeks). God is so kind.

So, down to the fun details.

Estimated Due Date: June 7, 2016

Weight Gain: Haven't gained any weight so far. But I think that's usual when your only 10 weeks pregnant. I'm looking forward to seeing my belly grow, and be able to take pictures for you all. Mom thinks I'll look cute with a baby bump.

Morning Sickness/Nausea: By God's amazing grace and blessing, I've had very mild nausea most days, and no vomiting at all. There were a few times where it got worse for like an hour or two, but over all I'm feeling pretty decent. :)

Food Cravings: Oh my goodness, I cannot get enough savory food right now! I crave hamburgers, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, fried eggs, Chick-fil-A waffle fries, and guacamole. Mmm. But of course, I make myself eat salad and other veggies and fruits, to keep myself healthy. I still like fruits and veggies, but they're not as satisfying as savory food.

Gender Prediction: I think it's a boy. I looked at the Chinese Lunar Calendar, and it said it was a boy. (not saying it's 100% accurate) And supposedly when you have a boy, you have less nausea and crave more salty foods. But whichever gender our baby is, I will be thrilled. Every baby is a good gift from God!

I'm so excited to be on this next chapter of life! I'll try to keep you updated as much as possible.
God is awesome!  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Moving on

We helped Mom and Dad move yesterday, into a nice rental house. It was sad moving them out of the old house. They've lived there since I was about 7. Pretty much all of my childhood memories are from stuff we did at that house. We set up a few haunted houses in the basement, pretended we were Indians after swimming in our pool, played with Legos and Playmobiles for hours at a time, and had many super fun birthday, Christmas, and Thanksgiving celebrations there.


It really was a great house to grow up in. :)
And yesterday was the last time we got to be there.

But we will move on. We (particularly me) must not dwell on the past, holding on to it and wishing things would stay as they were before. Instead, we should accept the fact that change is inevitable, look back on our childhood memories with fondness, and move on.
The future is bright.    

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 30

I read Psalm 18 the other day, and thought it was really good. The first 3 verses are probably my favorite of the chapter. It goes like this.
"I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies."
It's hard to explain, but these verses are very comforting to me. I guess it's because it's saying how strong God is, and that I will be safe if I lean in to Him and rely on Him.

Today is the 30th day in a row that I've posted on here. Yay! :) I gave myself a challenge and I rose to it. Now if I could just do the same thing for exercising....

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 29

Today is this handsome man's 30th birthday!

There is so much I could say about Quentin. He's my best friend, my lover, my encourager, my confidant, my leader, my darling. He is kind, patient, gentle, loving, honest, gracious, hard-working, others-focused. He's always there for me when I need him. He takes the time to get to know me well. He challenges me to live for Jesus and do things that would please God, and he is never harsh when he does this.

Quentin favorite things include coffee, plants, hugs, church, spending time with family, reading Scripture, cuddling with me on the couch, teasing our cat about being chubby, and doing special things for me. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is not afraid to laugh at himself. He is extremely loyal and faithful, and has never made me doubt this for a second.

Quentin, my sweetheart, I am beyond grateful for you. I'm thankful that God created you, brought you into this world 30 years ago, and shaped you into the man you are today. I'm humbled that God chose you specifically to be the one who is my husband. You are far beyond what I deserve or could have imagined. You are one of the very best things that happened to me. I love you more than I can say.

Happy birthday!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 28

Wow, only 2 more posts after today 'til I make it to 30 in a row. Time flies!

Speaking of time, I'm thankful for time savers. Take a crock pot for instance. I just prep a few things, put them together in the crock pot, and turn it on. Then when dinner time comes, dinner is already ready to eat. It's super helpful when I'm not gonna be home much, like today. We're leaving in a bit to hang out with the Whitakers for Quentin's birthday celebration (his birthday is tomorrow), then going straight to small group. So, we have to wait 'til after small group to eat dinner. By that time, I won't feel like making dinner, so I'm using the crock pot. I like modern inventions.

At church this morning, the message was about embracing your identity with Christ. Basically, if you want non-Christians to be attracted to Christ and the church, you have to truly identify with Christ and live differently than the world. You have to display Christ to others - be like Christ.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 27

Praise Jesus, I feel better today! :) No appendicitis or anything like that. It was possibly from something I ate. Ended up not going to urgent care, which was good 'cause I got better.

Here's a recipe I've tried that I really like. It might sound weird to have sweet potato in a cookie, but it is so tasty!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups pureed sweet potato (about 2 medium sweet potatoes) 
1/2 cup oat flour (can be sub. w/ another kind of flour)
1/2 cup nut butter
2 eggs
3 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1 tsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

1. Boil a medium pot of water. Peel and dice sweet potatoes, add to water. Cook till they can be easily forked. Once they are done add to the food processor and pulse till smooth. Let cool.

2. Mix dry ingredients- oat flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the nut butter with a fork or a pastry cutter if you have one. I ended up using my hands.

3. Add eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix in sweet potato and then chocolate chips. 

4. Scoop onto parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet- I used a mini ice cream scoop. Then press down with a fork.

5. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Cookies will be moist and soft.

(this is not my picture. It's from another blog.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Day 26

Our house listing on realtor.com now says that it's under contract. :) It's been under contract for 6 days, but now it's more "official".

Well, I've been feeling totally crappy since about 4pm yesterday. Boo, sickness! I might go to urgent care later when Quentin gets home. Especially since I can barely eat anything without feeling nauseous. At least I'm able to drink water. Prayers for healing would be awesome.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 25

Today I brought our earnest money check to our closing attorney's office. Mom came with me, and when I was done she took me out to eat. She is so generous! The chicken salad sandwich was really good. :) And, since we were somewhat close to my future home, we got to drive by the house so Mom could see it. She approves.

When I checked the mail after getting home, I saw a package with our wedding photos that I had ordered. It was fun looking through them again, not on the computer. One day soon, I'll start putting them together in a scrapbook. Fun times are ahead!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 24

It seems like I just started this 30 day challenge, and now I only have 6 more posts to write after today.

Random fact Wednesday: Possibly my favorite breakfast combination is a fried egg with avocado and tomato. It might sound weird, but it is so good! Especially with a slightly runny egg yolk. Mmmm.

I just finished packing the 5th box for moving. Making slow and steady progress! I'll try to pack more later today, after I do laundry and make a fresh batch of granola. I love being home all day. It gives me time to work on things that need to happen. :)

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 23

One year and 8 months ago today, Quentin and I started dating. Seems like I've known him for longer than that.

To be honest, when we started dating I was a bit skeptical about it ending in marriage. I hardly knew Quentin at all, so I wasn't sure if our beliefs and values would match. Also I didn't want people to make fun of our height difference. (I'm 5ft, he is 6ft 3 in.) That was a silly reason, now that I look back.

Today I am so glad that, despite my initial skepticism, I said yes to dating Quentin. I found out that all of our most important beliefs did actually match. And I got used to the height difference; now it makes me feel more protected. (and when I can't reach something, Quentin can get it for me)

In other news, the sun is out! :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 22

The sun came out for a few minutes just now. It was good to see sunshine again, since it's been hiding for the past 5 days. :)
I found out that South Carolina is flooded in multiple cities, with interstates and bridges closed. This hurricane is no joke. I pray that everyone is safe.

Totally random fact: on Mondays I usually give Mabel some hairball remedy medicine. I put it in her food bowl when it's empty, and won't give her more food until she eats the medicine. The problem is that she refuses to eat it. So she'll go for an entire day without eating. I usually end up having to put the medicine on her paw so she'll lick it off, which she hates. You would think that after multiple times of this happening, she would get the idea that if she just eats the medicine from her bowl then I wouldn't have to put it on her paw. Silly cat.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 21

It is very windy today. We could feel it pushing on our car on the way to church this morning. Yeah, random fact...

Here are some verses from 1 Timothy, which I've been reading through.

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men " - 2:5-6

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." - 4:7-8

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 20

We are officially under contract for the house. :) Now we have to get it inspected and find an escrow agent to help with the title stuff at closing. There's a lot that goes into buying a house. But it's worth it!

Oh yeah, my parents' house is under contract now. They're getting a rental house in about 2 weeks. It's kinda funny that everyone in my immediate family is moving this year. It's a fun change though.

In other news, there's a flash flood warning for our area due to the rain left over from a hurricane. Thankfully we're not in a flood plane. I hope everyone stays safe out there!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 19

Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe it!
The sellers gave a counter offer and we accepted it. We are signing the contract for the house tonight. What? Is this really happening? My dream house is basically ours. I'm super excited!

We're not able to move until November, due to our apartment lease. But that gives us extra time to get ready. I think I might go pack a few things in a bit. :) Ah, I'm so excited!

God is so good, and generous beyond what we deserve!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 18

We gave our apartment staff our 60 day notice of intention to move. And we put an offer on the house I wrote about. We are still waiting to hear back from the seller, to know if they accepted or if they have a counter offer. Waiting for something like this is kinda hard. I'm so excited that we might get to have our own house by the end of November! I kinda want to start packing today. But I guess it's still not 100 percent certain until our offer is accepted. There is a good chance though!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 17

Random Fact Wednesday:

I almost always say "My pleasure" whenever anyone thanks me. This is partly because I like saying it (it just sounds better than "You're welcome"), and partly because I said it for 7 years while working at Chick-fil-A (the best Chick-fil-A ever, by the way). It didn't come natural when I first started working there, but now I say it without even thinking.  

Well, this morning I had to force myself to say "You're welcome". I held the door open for a lady as I was going into Chick-fil-A for a free breakfast entree. She thanked me for holding the door, and I was about to say "My pleasure", but then I thought it would probably sound weird to her to have a fellow customer say that to her, when the employee at the front counter had just said the same thing. So I managed a quick "You're welcome" before she walked past. 

It's funny how much those 2 words are ingrained in me. But I enjoy saying it, so it's cool. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 16

Better late than never!

Today is national coffee day. Seems a bit funny that there's pretty much a national day for every thing in the world. But sometimes it's fun to "celebrate" the day, like today.
I used the chocolate coffee beans that I made yesterday, to put on top of coffee chocolate cupcakes. And I put chocolate pudding in the middle too. They are so yummy! :) Baking is definitely a good way to celebrate coffee day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 15

I'm half way through my 30-day challenge. Only another 15 days to go. Wow, it seems like I just started.

This morning I was trying to find chocolate-covered coffee beans, which I was going to use in a recipe I'm making tomorrow. Well, Walmart and Harris Teeter and Food Lion all did not have any. What? I thought for sure that Walmart would have some.
Anyway, so when I got home from shopping, I made some homemade chocolate. Then I dipped some coffee beans in it, and froze them. So now I have homemade chocolate coffee beans. When I can't find something at the store, I like to improvise. :) And they're better for me than the sore-bought stuff anyway.

Have a good day, everyone!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day 14

My dream house might just be my future home. :)
When we looked at it today, we really really liked it. It's on almost a half acre, with plenty of room for a veggie garden. The master bedroom is very big, which is nice. And I love the wrap around porch.
Again, we're very hopeful and excited. We're gonna look at our finances and make sure we can afford this house, since it is closer to our max amount.
If you can pray for us, that would be great!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day 13

We found a house that we really like, in a country-ish area. We're still looking at 2 more houses tomorrow after church, one of them being my "dream house" (2 story, big wrap-around porch), so we won't make an offer until after that. But this one we saw today is a definite possibility. It's well below our budget, so we'd be saving a lot by buying it. And it has a big yard, very nice renovated inside so there's no extra work to do on it, a ready-made firepit, and a big deck out back. We're very hopeful and excited about this one. Praying that no one makes an offer on it while we see the other houses tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Day 12

We're going to look at 3 more houses tomorrow, and hopefully this will be our last time looking. We have less than a week to give the apartment our 60 days notice if we're going to move. We're praying that we find something tomorrow, but if not we might have to be content living at the apartment 6 months to a year longer. I'll keep you posted.

Here's what I read in Scripture today.

1 Timothy 1:14-16 "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."

Isn't this good news? :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Day 11

Here's a fun quiz that I filled out in 2011. I'll keep my answers from that year, and add what my answers are today. Maybe you'll learn something about me from it. :)

What was your:

1. Last beverage: 2011: water -- Today: water

2. Last phone call: 2011: Mom -- Today: Quentin

3. Last text message: 2011: Anna -- Today: Quentin

4. Last song you listened to: 2011: One Thing Remains -- Today: Getting Into You by Relient K

5. Last time you cried: 2011: Can't remember last time I actually cried, but I came close to it last Friday (got lost on the way to the girls' retreat).  -- Today: at the OBGYN a few weeks ago, when they did a procedure to take out some of my endometrium. It was about 5 times worse than the worst cramps I'd ever had.

Have you ever:

6. Dated someone twice: 2011: nope, never dated -- Today: nope, one time was all I needed. :)

7. Been cheated on: 2011: no -- Today: No way, I'm married to the most faithful man I know!

8. Kissed someone & regretted it: 2011: Nope. But I've only ever kissed my family members. -- Today: No. The only one I've kissed in a romantic way is my husband, and I definitely don't regret it.

9. Lost someone special: 2011: yes -- Today: Hm, I don't think so.

10. Been depressed: 2011: yep, definitely. But because of my Savior, it didn't last long. -- Today: yes, but again, God helped me through it.

11. Been drunk and threw up: 2011: absolutely not. -- Today: nope, never been drunk

List 3 favorite colors: (all of these are still the same today!)

12. purple

13. blue

14. green

This year have you:

15. Made a new friend: 2011: Yep, all my fellow classmates and my new co-workers. And I got to know some people from church better.  -- Today: Not really. Does my kitty count?

16. Fallen out of love: 2011: never been in love -- Today: nope, I'm very much in love.

17. Laughed until you cried: 2011: nope. Guess I need more laughter in my life... -- Today: nope

18. Met someone who changed you: 2011: Oh yes, many wonderful people. -- Today: not really

19. Found out who your true friends were: 2011: hmm... don't think so. I think all my friends are true friends -- Today: kinda I guess

20. Found out someone was talking about you: 2011: yes, but it wasn't anything bad -- Today: yes, but it was good things

21. Kissed anyone on your friend's list: 2011: yes, my family members -- Today: yes, my hubby

22. How many people on your friends list do you know in real life: 2011: almost all of them -- Today: all of 'em :)

23. How many kids do you want: 2011: however many God gives -- Today: I'd like to have 4

24. Do you have any pets: 2011: my family has a bird, but I don't have pets of my own. -- Today: yes, a sweet cat named Mabel

25. Do you want to change your name: 2011: nope, I like my name. :) -- Today: actually, I did change my last name this year, when I got married. But I don't want to ever change it again.

26. What did you do for your last birthday: 2011: Sadly, I can't remember. =/ -- Today: I hung out with my family at my parents' house, and Mom made a peppermint chocolate cake.

27. What time did you wake up today: 2011: 6:00am -- Today: I woke up multiple times, but I got out of bed a little before 7am.

28. What were you doing at midnight last night: 2011 and Today: definitely sleeping

30. Last time you saw your Mother: 2011: I'm sitting in the same room as her. :) -- Today: 4 days ago, for her birthday celebration

31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: 2011: that I could be more others-focused instead of self-focused. -- Today: that I would be more disciplined

32. What are you listening to right now: 2011: the movie The Blind Side -- Today: the wind in the trees outside my open window.

33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom: not that I remember (same)

34. Who's getting on your nerves right now: no one (same)

35. Most visited webpage: 2011: definitely Facebook -- Today: Realtor.com 'cause we're looking for a house

36. What's your real name: 2011: Emily Sweigart -- Today: Emily Whitaker

37. Nicknames: 2011: Em, Emmy, Em'n'Em, Emilia  -- Today: Em, Emzee, Em'n'Em, Sweetie, Cutie, Darling

38. Relationship Status: 2011: single  -- Today: married! (still kinda hard to believe that)

39. Zodiac sign: no idea, don't pay attention to that stuff (same)

40. Male or female: female (same, obviously)

41. Primary School: Sweigart Academy (same, it was the best school ever!)

42. Secondary School: Sweigart Academy (same again)

43. High school/college: Sweigart Academy, Southeastern Institute (same yet again)

44. Hair color: brown (same same same)

45. Long or short: long (same)

46. Height: 2011: 5 feet even -- Today: technically I'm 4 ft. 11 and 3/4 inches

47. Do you have a crush on someone: 2011: yes, unfortunately. -- Today: yes, my handsome husband Quentin

48: What do you like about yourself: 2011: my eyes and my hair -- Today: that I'm small, 'cause Quentin loves my smallness

49. Piercings: just one in each ear (same today)

50. Tattoos: 2011: nope -- Today: yes, I have a Scripture verse on my left ankle

51. Righty or lefty: righty (same, don't know if anyone ever changes which hand is dominant

Firsts: (all of these are the same today that they were in 2011)

52. First surgery: I've never had surgery

53. First piercing: my ears, when I was 13

54. First best friend: my 2 sisters =D

55. First sport you joined: never played sports

56. First vacation: that I remember - the Outer Banks of NC

58. First pair of trainers: idk

Right now:

59. Eating: 2011: cookies. -- Today: nothing, but I ate a yummy salad a few minutes ago

60. Drinking: 2011: nothing -- Today: water

61. I'm about to: 2011: go to bed, once the movie is over -- Today: get a cupcake from the pantry for dessert

62. Listening to: 2011: The Blind Slide movie -- Today: this is a repeat question. the wind in the trees outside

63. Waiting for: 2011: my acne to go away, without having to go to the dermatologist -- Today: the right house for us, hope we find it soon

Your Future:

64. Want kids: 2011: sure, if I ever get married -- Today: yep! I hope they have curly hair like Quentin did when he was little :)

65. Get married: 2011: Whenever God says it's time. -- Today: I got married 6 months ago :)

66. Career: 2011: Massage Therapist -- Today: stay-at-home wife and mom (aka homemaker)

Which is better?

67. Lips or eyes: eyes (same)

68. Hugs or kisses: 2011: hugs!  -- Today: hmm, now that I'm married, I do both a lot. Not sure which I like better.

69. Shorter or taller: shorter. more on my level, and shorter can squeeze in small spaces. (I'd say the same today. Though, I am thankful that Quentin is tall.)

70. Older or  younger: older, they have more wisdom. (same)

71. Romantic or spontaneous: 2011: both -- Today: romantic

72. Nice stomach or nice arms: nice arms (same. I love my hubby's strong arms)

73. Sensitive or confident: 2011: both -- Today: sensitive

74. Hook-up or relationship: relationship (definitely same today)

Have you ever: (all these are the same, sorry for being boring)

76. Kissed a stranger: nope

77. Drank hard liquor: no.

78. Lost glasses/contacts: yeah, I lost my reading glasses once. But I found 'em again.

79. Blahblahblahblahblah: sure, I've said blahblahblah before. (not sure if this is what this means)

80. Broken someone's heart: I don't think so.

82. Been arrested: nope

83. Turned someone down: yes. I've gotten invited to a few things that I had to say no.

84. Cried when someone died: yes.

Do you believe in:

86. Yourself: 2011: no -- Today: sometimes

87. Miracles: yes (same)

88. Love at first sight: 2011: maybe -- Today: Yes, that's what happened to Quentin when he met me. :)

89. Heaven: yes (same)

90. Santa Claus: nope (same)

91. Kiss on the first date: nope, that's way too soon (same)

Answer truthfully:

94. Had more than 1 girlfriend/boyfriend at a time: 2011: nope, never had one -- Today: No. When I dated Quentin, I was not looking around for another guy. Why would anyone do that anyway?

95. Did you sing today: 2011: yes, at church -- Today: no

96. Ever cheated on somebody: no. (same today)

97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go: 2011: I think I'd go back to "old time London". -- Today: I'd go back to the time when there was no electricity and most people knew how to grow veggies.

98. The moment you would choose to relive: 2011: every Rekindle! :) -- Today: hm, there are so many good moments to choose from! But if I have to pick just one, I'd say the moment Quentin and I kissed after being pronounced husband and wife. :)

99. Are you afraid of falling in love: 2011: yes, unfortunately -- Today: nope. if I was afraid, I'd be in trouble, 'cause I am in love with Quentin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day 10

One third of the way through this 30-day challenge. :)

Random fact Wednesday: I like number puzzles, Sudoku in particular, more than I like letter puzzles such as Boggle or crosswords. They're just so much more fun to me. Maybe the fact that I've always struggled with spelling has something to do with it. Or the fact that I enjoyed math in school.
I enjoy working with numbers too, such as calculating a budget. I also seem to remember numbers better that the spelling of words. For example, if I had to copy down a specific number (like a phone number) I can usually look at it once and remember it. But if I have to write the name of a street or something, I have to check a few times to get it copied correctly. I've never been good at road names either. I usually get places by looking at landmarks, so if you ask me how to get somewhere, I'll say something like "Take a left at the second road after the Walmart and then look for the elementary school and turn right."
Yeah, I like numbers a lot better than letters.   

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Day 9

I can choose to be grateful.

Instead of complaining about the extremely low water pressure in our apartment, I can be grateful that we have clean water coming directly to us with the turn of a faucet.
Instead of complaining that I have to wash dishes, I can be grateful for dish soap and the fact that we have dishes that need to be washed 'cause that means we have food on our plates.
Instead of complaining about "lady stuff", I can be grateful that my body is functioning properly.
Instead of complaining when I make a mistake, I can be grateful that I will learn from it and do better next time.
Instead of complaining about exercising, I can be grateful for the ability to move my muscles efficiently. (some people can't, you know)
Instead of complaining when I get bored, I can be grateful that I have some down time instead of having to work all the time.

I hope that every time I'm tempted to complain, I can turn it around and be grateful instead. It does make me feel more blessed when I do that. :) You should try it!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 8

At this time 6 months ago (March 21), Quentin and I had just gotten married. Hard to believe it's been half a  year already! We've had numerous ups and downs already, but overall there have been more ups. :) We've grown closer together since our wedding day. We're still learning how to best love each other and live together in peace. It's a fun time!

In other news, I took Mabel outside on a leash and harness for the first time this morning. She seemed to like exploring. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Day 7

Happy birthday, Mom!

This beautiful lady is celebrating her birthday today. :) I'm so blessed to have her as my mom. Until I have my own children, I will never know exactly how much she sacrificed for me. Here are some things I'm thankful for about Mom. (this is not a complete list! I could go on for a long time)

- for teaching me how to clean and do laundry
- for letting me help cook dinner, even when I wasn't that much of a help
- for putting up with all the phone calls when I was going through anxiety attacks
- for making my favorite peppermint cake every year for my birthday
- for learning how to keep chickens and have a veggie garden, so we could have fresh eggs and veggies (once we get a house, I'll want to learn too!)
- for being very generous with your time and resources
- for getting excited for me when I share something I'm excited about
- for loving me very well

I love you Mom, and look forward to celebrating with you in a few hours!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Day 6

This is Quentin. I am writing in place of my sweet wife Emily.

Waiting, Working, and Thriving

It is very hard for me to wait when I see something that I want especially when it seems I have no control over the outcome.

One question I am pondering is how do waiting and working find their balance and do they support or contradict each other? Waiting and working seem to contradict each other at first glance. As I reflect on my life it seems that waiting is a central to making me thrive and giving me drive in life.

A few realities and/or beliefs seem to guide my viewpoint on waiting.

I Have No Control

Circumstances happen. we can divert their outcome at times but every circumstance seems to be integrally tied to the next and the next. Thus, we can influence our course but our ultimate course is beyond our ability to decipher or control.

Proverbs 16:9 says "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Even one that denies the reality of God still faces reality. Control is an illusion. Every decision we make, every goal we set is moderated and ultimately at the mercy of a million circumstances. We do what is within our grasp; we have no control over what is in our grasp (if we are honest). Thus, we have no control over the outcome of our decisions or choices. We do not decide where we are born, the economic status of our family, who we know, etc. Although we have control of some circumstances this is only within the realm/ bounds of our given opportunities.

God Is In Control

God is the only viable being to have control of our steps.  All others would fail at the mercy of "mother nature". "Mother nature" is, in fact, no mother at all. Nature has no ability to produce anything sustainable; it lies at the mercy of entropy/disorder. Why is the world sustained if the second law of thermodynamics is fundamental? I am not a scientist (just a plant/horticulture nerd) but it seems that there is likely no viable explanation for the relative order and sustainability of the universe amid its tendency to disorder.What holds it together?

Hope Is Tangible

God sustains. God is good. God is sovereign. God is Just. God is love. God is the God of ALL grace. God is the Gospel (Good News). These truths are at the core of real tangible hope. 

Biblical hope.... lasting hope... God-given hope is not merely a "hope". Hope is a tangible confidence in an unshakable reality. Hope is based on what we see... not with our physical eyes, but see nonetheless. Eyesight based hope (i.e. immediate circumstances) is temporary since it is based on the immediate rather than the long term. Lasting hope defines the present by the future. We do not know the future but, when God steps in, through Christ, his powerful grace unleashes his love in such a way that nothing can steal your future. As a Christian I know my future. I do not know the intricate details but I know that all that happens in the present has purpose. It has the purpose of an all-satisfying, all-good, all-just, all-loving, all-gracious Lord who is holding on to me no matter how well I grasp on to Him. His hold on me keeps me holding on to Him.

Waiting Is Flourishing

Waiting is hard but less and less so the more I grasp onto these realities. The more I see Christ, the more I see God, the more I see life... as an amazing gift. All things are fulfilled (in their purpose) in Him. Popcorn is worthless unless there is a microwave. So it is with life. Life is worthless, we are worthless, until there is God... until there is Christ... until there is the Gospel of God in Christ.

Rabbit Trail....The Good News (Gospel) In Short:

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
rand the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 

Waiting is flourishing.Waiting is hinged on our view of the hope we have in Christ. For the individual that stakes his life on/ hopes, rests in the gospel of God's amazing grace in Christ waiting (through suffering) produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us. (Romans 5:1-5) Hope is what drives us. Hope is what guides us.  Hope is what anchors us. (Heb 6:19-20) A tree that thrives is the tree that is anchored and planted by streams of water. (Psalm 1) Hope produces waiting. Waiting is flourishing. 

Waiting Produces Working

Isaiah 40:31 "[...]they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

Working or growing seems to be a direct byproduct of waiting. Waiting/ trusting in God's gracious sovereignty is the key to flourishing. Humans are dependent creatures and flourishing never happens outside of deep rooting in the gospel of grace. Flourishing produces active, fruitful growth. 

Waiting is resting. Waiting and anxiety never coexist. When we trust, we rest. When we rest we wait.

Growth is work... God's work (primarily) but work nonetheless. Rest produces work in proportion to the degree in which we rest in his grace. Our resting produces perseverance. Our resting produces hope. Our resting and hoping produces more resting. 

Praise God for his amazing gift of resting and waiting on His amazing grace!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Day 5

Happy Friday! :)

Here's what I read in Scripture today:

1 Thessalonians 2:13-15
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

It's a good reminder that we are saved through the Spirit and through faith in the gospel (the truth), not through our own goodness or religious practices. And it's amazing that we get to share in the glory of Jesus. We do not deserve that, but yet God generously gives it to us. He is so gracious and merciful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Restart Day 4

Alright, I've made it to where I made it the first time with this 30 day challenge. Here's hoping I can go farther this time and finish.

The past 2.5 weeks I've been helping Quentin install a landscaping job for some people from church. It's fun watching it come together! We're still not finished yet, but we're getting there. I'll hopefully have a picture when it's done. :)
Through helping with this planting job, I've learned a lot of new plant varieties, such as sunshine ligustrum and spiked speedwell. I've also learned that I am not a slow gardener. By the time I plant one plant, Quentin is finishing his third. It's cool how fast he can plant things. He does a great job too! One day I might be fast and careful, but right now I'm just careful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Restart Day 3

Why not do a random fact Wednesday? I did those a while ago, and haven't been keeping up. So, random fact: I don't use shampoo. Instead I use a mix of  baking soda and water. And instead of conditioner, I use apple cider vinegar mixed with water and some lavender essential oil. (the oil overpowers the vinegar smell) This saves me money on buying shampoo, and it's better for my hair too 'cause it doesn't have any added chemicals. Might sound weird, but I like it - it makes my hair soft. :)

Another random fact: Today on my TimeHop app, it said that the song Jingle Bells was written 158 years ago. I didn't know it was that old. I still sing it sometimes at Christmas, and hear it on the radio. Guess it is a true classic.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Restart Day 2

Autumn is coming! We've slept with the windows open the past 2 nights, and haven't run the a/c. This cool weather is my favorite!

In other news, Quentin and I are house hunting. We've seen 8 houses so far, and I don't think any of them are quite the right one for us even though we have really liked a few. But we're not giving up. We know the God has the right house for us somewhere, even if it means staying in our apartment for another year to wait for the house to be on the market. I will keep you updated on our search. :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Restart Day 1

I missed a day already, so I'm starting back at day 1. I'm gonna get through this time!

I like taking recipes and experimenting with modifications. Sometimes they don't turn out so good, like the time I made lemon bread using dates instead of sugar and applesauce instead of oil. (one word: doughy) But other times they turn out great, like a cookie recipe I tried.

Doesn't it look yummy?

Here's the original recipe, from cupcakesomg.blogspot.com

1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Place by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

And, here is my variation. Same mixing instructions, just slightly different ingredients.

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup honey
1 flax egg (1 Tbls. ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbls. water, let sit for 2 minutes)
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

You should try out both recipes some time. :) And have fun experimenting with your own recipe modifications!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Day 4

Last night we went to a parenting class with our church, 'cause it's never too early to start getting prepared. Seriously. A few couples there said, "I wish we would have gone to a class like this before we had kids." We are blessed to be able to get guidance before kids.

One thing that stood out to me was that the Bible is not a manual for parenting, it is a framework. God never goes into detail about how you should raise your children. He gives you guidelines. Then He gives you wisdom when you ask for it in prayer - wisdom to know the more specific ways you can/should raise the children He gives you. Aside from the guidelines in Scripture, there is no "right way" to be a parent.

This comes as a relief, 'cause I know I don't have to do everything "right", but it also is intimidating 'cause I know I have to figure things out when the time comes. However, I have hope knowing that God will show me the best way to raise children and the grace to do it too, if I come to Him and ask for help.

God is good!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Day 3

One year ago today, I bought my wedding dress. Hard to believe it's been a whole year - seams like only a few months ago. It only took a little over 2 hours to find the perfect dress for me. My consultant did a great job!

When I picked out my dress 1 year ago, that's when I started feeling like I was actually going to get married. I thought "Oh my goodness, this is really happening!" It was a good feeling. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 2

I've been reading a book called Trusting God, which is very helpful. It helped me see that I have a lot of growing to do in this area - I tend to be anxious instead of trusting Him. Here's a quote from the book.

"We are in the hands of a sovereign God who controls every circumstance of our lives and who rejoices in doing us good (see Jeremiah 32:41)."
"God does have a purpose and a plan for you, and God has the power to carry out that plan."
"Because we know God is directing our lives to an ultimate end and because we know He is sovereignly able to orchestrate the events of our lives toward that end, we can trust Him."

This is so encouraging! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

30 day challenge - day 1

I'm challenging myself to post something on this blog for 30 days in a row. Not just a meaningless "here's my post for today", but something worthwhile. If I miss a day, I start over. We'll see how this goes.

So, you know how when you use a juicer, there's a lot of vegetable/fruit "meat" leftover? I've come up with two yummy ideas to use the pulp/flesh/meat instead of throwing it in the trash.
1) Mix it with some oats and seasonings, squish it together, form a round patty, and fry it in a pan on the stove. Now you have a veggie burger!
2) Mix in some seasonings, stir-fry it with oil, and add it to rice or noodles (by itself is great too). Voila, healthy, tasty vegetable stir-fry.

You could probably use it in bread as well, like for zucchini or carrot bread, just be sure to squeeze out any excess juice first.

Have fun juicing! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

what's been happening

So, what have I been up to the past few months? Let's see...

I've been taking care of all the normal "house duties" - cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Nothing exciting there. Though, I think it's exciting being able to plan out the menu and go grocery shopping. :) Also taking care of our house plants is fun. For example:

I've been spending time with family and friends, though not as much as I would like. I went on a few road trips with Quentin, which were fun and relaxing. I've been reading and working on my cross stitch. I've been trying to eat healthier and exercise more, to get my body in the best shape possible before Quentin and I decide to get pregnant. (I should have started doing this a long time ago, but I've been lazy)

I've been taking care of Mabel. She is the sweetest kitty!

And I've been helping Quentin at various landscaping jobs. That's been fun. We helped spread mulch at my parents' house, replanted in the front yard of Quentin's parents' house, and installed a garden at the entrance to an elementary school. It's fun watching the process of landscapes going from drawings to plants.

It's been a good few months. :)

Friday, August 7, 2015


I'd like to introduce you to the Whitakers. :)

First is Brian and Andrea, my 2nd parents (Quentin's dad and mom). They live about 15 minutes away from us, which is great 'cause I really enjoy spending time with them! They are both very generous, kind, loving, and follow the Lord in everything. They are a blessing, and I love them both! They're getting ready to go on a date in this photo.

Now for Quentin's siblings.
First is his sister Rachel. Her husband is Matt, and they have a daughter named Belle. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of them. They live in Ohio. I've only spend a few hours with them, but they are a very nice family.

Next is Quentin's oldest brother Justin. Justin and his wife Beth live a little less than 10 minutes from us. They have 2 biological children - Cadence and Alayna - and 2 children they adopted from Ethiopia - Joie and Brenden. They were the first Whitakers I met besides Quentin's parents, and even when I was only dating Quentin they treated me like family. They're very kind and generous. The kids always give me hugs and are happy to see me.

Brent is next in line. He married a beautiful Korean lady, So Young. They have 2 children Olivia and Ian, and are expecting another in December. They live in Kentucky, and we visited them last year. I don't know them as well as I'd like to, but I do know that they love the Lord and their family and are very sweet and generous.

Next is Scott and his wife Amanda. They live in West Virginia, and have 2 daughters Cambria and Avery. Scott initiated our wedding ceremony, which was really special. They are both strong in the Lord and are very generous. (see a theme going on here?) I'm looking forward to getting to know them better when we visit later this year.

Quentin is next in line. You already know what he looks like, so you don't need a picture.

Oh, I'll just put a picture on anyway. :)

Alright, the youngest brother is Doug. He shared the apartment with Quentin while I and Q were dating. It was fun to hang out with him and Q, even when he teased us a lot. =P He's in Colorodo now. It would be cool to go visit him some day. He's a great guy!

And last, but definitely not least, Quentin's youngest sisters. Karina (on the right) is 9 and was adopted from Guatemala, Makaila (left) is 5 and was adopted from Ethiopia. They are both super sweet girls, and I'm glad to call them my sisters. Can't wait to see how they grow to be young ladies!

There you have it. This is my new addition to my family. The Whitakers are a super amazing bunch of people!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'm Back

It's been almost 5 months since I last posted. That's because my laptop is broken, and I've been too lazy to figure out my password to log in on Quentin's.

These past months have been the best ones ever! Mainly because I'm married now. =D I know, that's what most newlyweds say. But it's true. I would not trade my marriage to Quentin for anything in the world.

Oh yeah, I updated my look and name of this blog. It's more for us now instead of just me. The reason behind the name is that it's only by the grace of God that we met each other and fell in love, and only by the grace of God that we can have a successful lasting marriage which reflects Christ.

The first month of marriage was tough, because Quentin was working 2 jobs, one of which was night shift. We didn't see each other much, even with me not working. But God gave us strength to persevere in that time, and blessed us in early May with Quentin's dream job. He is now working day shift as a landscape designer for a prominent company, which is what he's always wanted to do. And he gets to do the design drawings at home a lot, which is an added bonus. We are so grateful for this job, and hope Quentin will be in it for many years.

I've decided that I'm not going to pursue another job, unless we need it. We are financially doing well right now. I have always wanted to be a homemaker (aka stay at home wife), so I am ecstatic that I get to do that! =D Maybe this time next year, I will be a stay at home mom too. We'll see.

You're probably wanting to see some wedding photos, so here are a few. God gave us the perfect weather for our wedding in March.

my good friend Kasey fixed my hair
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St. Mark's is such a beautiful church!
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Quentin's mom helped with all the flowers, and did an amazing job with them!
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The groomsmen, with Quentin in front
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bridal portrait
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 me and my beautiful bridal party
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 Quentin's face when he first saw me walking in
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 Dad walking me down the aisle
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 saying our vows
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 unity candle
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 I love this picture of right after our kiss! (I stood on a stool during this)
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the Sweigart clan
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the Whitaker clan
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 the entire wedding party
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 a few couple shots
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cutting the cake
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 I got him with icing!
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our get-away car
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 and the grand exit
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It was such a wonderful day. Could not have asked for better. And I could not have asked for a better husband. Quentin is the perfect match for me. Many of my weaknesses are his strengths and viceversa, so we balance each other very well. He is such a loving, kind, generous, hard-working man, committed to living for Christ. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband!